According to Fox News on Friday, NSAID pain relievers may help reduce depression in patients with severe forms of arthritis, a new study suggests.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 27 million Americans have osteoarthritis, and many more have other painful cartilage conditions. A new study hints that taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS, may help relieve the symptoms of depression in many of those patients.
Depression is more than twice as common among people with arthritis, which happens when cartilage ears down around the joints of the body. To help manage their pain, many patients take NSAIDs such as naproxen or ibuprofen.
"This work suggests that anti-inflammatory agents may play a role in reducing the burden of depression," senior author Dr. Michael E. Farkouh of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said.
His team's study includes data from five previous trials of over-the-counter NSAIDs and prescription Celebrex, a NSAID manufactured by Pfizer, which provided the Celebrex results. In each of the trials, people with osteoarthritis were randomly assigned to take one of those medications or a drug-free placebo pill for six weeks.
Almost 1,500 people not taking antidepressants took part in the studies, which involved multiple depression questionnaires.
People on each treatment, including the placebo, tended to report fewer depression symptoms at the end of the trials than at the beginning, according to results published in The American Journal of Medicine.
But depression scores - measured on a scale of 0 to 27 - fell by 0.3 more points in the over-the-counter NSAID groups and by 0.6 more points in the Celebrex groups than among people taking a placebo.
Arthritis patients started those studies with an average depression score of 3, far below the threshold of 10 used for a depression diagnosis.
The study does provide some evidence that at least one form of pain medication may help reduce depression among people with osteoarthritis, Walsh said. It also "raises an interesting mechanistic question as to whether NSAIDs may have direct effects on mood, independent of their analgesic activity."